Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/ Gopalpur/ Vishakhapatnam, Oct 12:
The very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud, now barely 45 km away from Visakhapatanam, could make a landfall a little earlier than noon, latest reports from ground zero said.
Based on inputs from the local Met Centre, the district administration in Vishakhapatanam expects the landfall to happen around 11 AM, the reports added.
However, senior expert in IMD, New Delhi Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, who is monitoring the cyclonic storm, says the landfall is likely around noon.
“Hudhud, which is 70 km away from Visakhapatanam would land somewhere north of the city around noon. The windspeed will be 180 kmph, gusting to 195 kmph and it is likely to maintain its severity for about six hours before weakening,” he told a news channel earlier this morning.
Malkangiri and Koraput as well as parts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada are also likely to experience heavy rains and strong winds up to 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph during these six hours,” Mohapatra said.
At Vishakhapatnam, the wind speed is currently around 120 kmph, a senior journalist stationed there told OST over phone. ” Very strong wind exceedng 120 kmph and extremely heavy rains have started battering the city. It is devastating.” he said.
At Gopalpur in Odisha, heavy rain accompanied by 70-80 kmph strong winds have already begun, a reporter of a national news channel camping there told OST.
By all accounts, Hudhud would be at least a Category-3 storm ( wind speed 178-208 kmph) and hit Vishakhapatanam and Vizianagaram head on as it makes contact with land today. Most parts of the city have had no power since last night and the woes are likely to continue for a couple of days or more because the power infrastructure is likely to be very badly affected during the storm.
Most international weather sites monitoring tropical storms have estimated the wind power of the system to have been in the range of 190-230 kmph at the time of landfall near Vishakhapatnam. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted Hudhud to acquire a wind speed of 195 kmph at the time of hitting the coast.
The fury of the storm is likely to continue for at least six hours after crossing the north Andhra coast, following which it is likely to weaken gradually, weather reports have suggested.